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Cain, 39, began her college career in at Wayne State University in Detroit. She successfully made it through three years at the school, but just as she could see her degree on the horizon, her grandmother fell ill. School fell by the wayside as Cain cared for her and her own financial obligations rose. A lot of boundaries that were placed between myself and my dream job have been lifted. For years, Cain, who works as a casino host at the MGM Grand Detroit, toyed with returning to college, but work and family obligations kept getting in the way.
Cain enlisted the support of her family to make sure someone would be available to watch her 5-year-old son while she was in school and at work. She found trusted advisors at the school who helped her navigate course work, locate the parking lot closest to her classes and get set up with networking and study groups.
Cain may not fit with the image we often conjure when we think of college students — the co-ed lounging in the quad and grabbing a few beers with friends. But these days, the typical student looks more like Cain. There are likely millions more adults out there looking to start college for the first time or go back after years away.
Working adults with family and other responsibilities have different needs than other students. Schools that are particularly supportive of adult learners often offer courses outside of normal work hours and have rolling admissions and rolling start dates, Klein-Collins said. He suggests students talk with people a few steps ahead in their career journey and ask them what credential they got and where they earned it.
Adult students need to be discerning when choosing a school. For-profit colleges often do a great job of catering to students with complicated schedules — and make a point of highlighting that flexibility in their marketing materials — but their outcomes are often poor and come at a high cost. Reed also advises students to ask about prior learning assessments, which essentially allow a college to evaluate whether they can give you credit for skills you can prove you learned on the job.
Before Tanganyika Washington returned to Wayne State at age 39 to pursue a teaching degree focused on middle and high school math, she went to online education sites like Khan Academy to brush up on her calculus and trigonometry skills. Paying for college can be challenging at any age, but for adult students who are likely entirely responsible for the cost — and may have other financial responsibilities — successfully navigating the economics of earning a degree can be particularly important.
Adult students who are working should explore whether their employer can help them pay for school, Reed said. Students returning to college may also have to work through financial challenges precipitated by leaving school. Students who find themselves owing a balance should call up the school and ask if it has a fund for students facing financial emergencies that could be tapped to pay off the debt, Gonzales Warren said.
They could also look elsewhere for resources such Still looking college adult wivess here for similar a community-based scholarship or even turn to their employer for a loan. In addition to debts owed to the college, adult students may have a complicated financial aid history. Students who leave school without completing a degree are more likely to default on their student loans, a situation that prohibits them from taking on more federal debt.
Borrowers in this situation who hope to return to school should call their debt collector and ask about rehabilitating or consolidating their loans out of default. Finally, students who have spent a long time away from school may simply be shocked at the cost of both tuition and some of the extras required for college these days. Typically, the faster a student makes their way through school, the more likely they are to finish, Reed says.
But for students with other responsibilities, like caring and financially providing for family, that can be a challenge. Both she and Reed advise adults heading to college think about what they can do realistically to get through school as fast as possible, while also keeping in mind that they may still need to keep their full-time job or, at minimum, reduce their hours to part-time.
Both experts and students say having the support of family members and friends is crucial to finishing college as an adult. For Washington, who is the primary caregiver for her mother, that meant working with her family to take on some of that responsibility. In fact, the support of her family is part of what encouraged Washington to head back to school.
It was one of her siblings who first let her know, via text, about the Warrior Way Back program. Reed suggests adult students find a point of contact at their school who they can talk with about any challenges — academic, logistical or otherwise — they come up against.
Finding a point of contact at the university is particularly important for students who decide to pursue their degree solely or mostly online, Reed said. Support can also come from fellow students. Washington is still getting used to building relationships and study groups with students who are decades her junior.
Jillian Berman covers student debt and millennial finance. You can follow her on Twitter JillianBerman. Economic Calendar Coronavirus Recovery Tracker. Up Log In. ET By Jillian Berman. Jillian Berman. Bond rally continues while Dow futures slump points and European stocks retreat.
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